curated by Sara Maher

Of all the holidays the United States has twisted into a consumerist free-for-all, Halloween is my favorite. There are so many different ways to celebrate, and I’m not just talking about flavors of candy corn. Here is a range of All Hallows happenings, from goofy ghoulery to the fright of your life. (Note: events listed from most to least child-friendly).

Treats on the Beach

It’s a boo-tiful day for the beach! Summer surf meets fall fun at Luna Park’s Halloween Harvest. Families can guess the weight of a giant pumpkin and win prizes at Jack’s Pumpkin Shack; dance and sing at the Monster Mash stage or Kooky Spooky Karaoke; make Creepy Crawly Crafts, enjoy s’mores and a scary story at Camp Luna, pick and paint a pumpkin from Red Riding Hood’s Pumpkin Patch; or head to Coney Carnival for Halloween airbrush tattoos, face painting, and balloon animals. On October 25 you can watch Marc and the Maniac Pumpkin Carvers create elaborate pumpkin designs, and October 31 is the Monster Mash Halloween Bash, with trick-or-treating and games on top of the regular Halloween Harvest hullabaloo.

F downtown to W 8th St-NY Aquarium and walk south to Luna Park. Halloween Harvest open Sat-Sun through Nov 1; Sat Oct 24 12-8, Oct 25, 31 and Nov 1 12-6. Crafts and Coney Carnival are free; s’mores and pumpkin patch $5.

Demon Dance Party

Puppets, dancers, and bands mix with costumed citizens to create the wild fanfare of the 42nd Annual Village Halloween Parade. The self-proclaimed “most wildly creative public participatory event” in the nation allows anyone in costume to join the parade, which causes several hours of costumed chaos on the streets of the Village. This year’s theme is Shine a Light (referencing the light of love), so hopefully there will be even more of those glowing jellyfish go-karts than ever before.

F downtown to W 4th St and find a spot on 6th Av between Spring and 16th Sts; if you want to join the parade, you must continue south to Canal and 6th Av. Sat Oct 31 starting at 7pm. Free.

Save Your Braiiinnnssss

Are you smarter than a zombie? Your life depends on it! Room Escape Adventures presents Trapped in a Room With a Zombie, giving you and up to 11 colleagues/friends/family members/complete strangers 60 minutes to follow clues and solve puzzles to find the key to the room… but you have to work fast, because every five minutes, the hungry zombie gets another 12 inches of chain.

F downtown to 34th St-Herald Sq and walk southwest to 355 7th Av Through 2015; Wed, Thu, Fri 6:30pm or 8:30pm and multiple times Sat-Sun. $28; advance reservation required. Note: while this is a team-building exercise and is not meant to be scary, it is not recommended for children under 8. Participants under 18 must bring a waiver signed by a parent/guardian.

A Killer Good Time

Sometimes you need a little help getting over your fear. Some people rely on friends and family for support, while others face their fears head-on… and some people are OK with either approach, so long as it involves some alcohol first. Times Scare is a haunted house located in the twisting corridors behind the Kill Bar, a crematorium-turned-tourist-trap that is a horrible hangout all year long. It’s hard to tell which will prove more frightening: the ghost of a notorious killer who haunts the halls, or the line to get in.

F downtown to 42nd St-Bryant Park and walk west to 669 8th Av Times Scare: Tue-Thu 6pm-11pm; Fri 6pm-1am; Sat 2pm-1am, Sun 3-11pm with extended hours in October. $27 adults, $22 kids 12 and under. Kill Bar: Tue-Thu 5-11pm, Fri 5pm-2am, Sat 2pm-2am, Sun 3pm-11pm. No cover charge. Note: this experience is intended to be frightening, and is not recommended for children under 10. Times Scare actors will not touch you while you are in the attraction.

Hipster Horror

Haunted houses not your thing? How about some horror theater? Psycho Clan, the team behind Nightmare Haunted House, is taking a break from the terror tours to bring you Nightmare Horror Show, a series of eight mini “horror plays,” including three original works from the Clan. Pieces apparently range from slightly scary dark comedy to downright terrifying, so choose carefully. The Clan wants to make sure your kids also get exposed to independent horror theater, so they are offering a children’s puppet show called “Skeletons: A Day of the Dead Bedtime Story.” That might be a safer option for all of us.

F downtown to Delancey St and walk northeast to Clemente Soto Velez Cultural and Educational Center (107 Suffolk St) Nightmare Horror Show: through Sat Oct 31; showtimes vary. $25. Note: some plays make use of traditional haunted house effects such as fog machines and strobe lights; read play descriptions for details. Skeletons: Sat Oct 24, 31 at 3pm. Free for two kids with paying adult with online coupon code at

Tags: Adventures Off-Island entertainment Sara Maher

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